The process of creating great display ads starts by crafting a powerful message. Copywriting is an essential part of what banner advertising means, and in some cases it’s the most important one. A good design empowers the message and draws attention, but the words you put in there define the message.
This is why we came with 7 simple tips to write a great copy for your display ads.
1. Answer the questions “What is my goal?”
You may offer a discount, introduce a new product to the market, let people know about your product’s improved features and so on. Whatever your ad is about, there are two possible reasons for you to run it: to create brand awareness and to sell.
Selling your product and promoting your brand usually come along together, however some ads can have a focus on making the sale, whereas others tend to focus on promoting the brand.
Have you ever heard the saying “if you’re speaking to everybody, you’re speaking to nobody”?
Same thing with banner advertising. It happens because the Internet, as any other medium, is crowded with advertising messages that try to grab users’ attention. So the users react by just ignoring most – if not all – of these messages.
They will listen to what you’ve got to say only when they want to and only if your message resonates with their way of seeing the world. So try selling to people who are more likely to listen to you, when they are ready to listen.
Start by learning more about your possible prospects, about their interests and needs. If your product can be used by different groups of people, create a different marketing message for each group.
3. Put yourself in their shoes
You have developed a service or product for a specific group of customers, to solve a problem they have or make their life easier. They would probably be much more open to hear about your product if you speak about it using their words. It may be difficult not to use technical words that you and your team use when talking about it. But in your prospects’ eyes these tech words might be only confusing terms that they do not understand properly (sure, if you advertise to geeks and tech savvy people, on the opposite, you have to use jargon!).
So let’s say you want to reach a regular audience, but you created an ad full of specs and jargon. Imagine those few moments your prospects notice such an ad. What would they find? Some tech lingo they do not understand (they wouldn’t admit it however). What would they think? Well, probably they’ll ignore your ad and move on. After all, it wasn’t targeted at them, but at you.
So even though you, as an expert in your field, understand your product perfectly and know every feature it has, your ad shouldn’t sound so that it pleases you. Instead it should “please” your audience.
4. Be brief
We don’t want to start a long copy vs. short copy debate. By being “brief” we mean that you should avoid wordiness and any unnecessary information in your ads (this is particularly true for banners).
Blather bores the ever-hurried Internet users and it hardly can make a sale.
5. Catchy words
You can use catchy words only if you know what is catchy in the eyes of your prospects. Avoid expressions (some call them buzzwords) like “make money”, “client focused”, “110% value”, “innovative” because everybody uses them and they have become clichés. They are probably not appealing to your audience anymore, they’re ineffective and for sure they won’t make your offer stand out from the competition.
We know your product is great and it has all these cool features, but remember that users will grant you very few moments to read your ad. So choose your words carefully and shape up a simple and coherent message. For instance, you might want to write a punchy “headline”, or use an enticing question. Perhaps a catchy call to action?
FREE is the strongest word that you can use in a banner, so be careful not to misuse it. Make sure you can really provide something valuable for free and everything will be ok. Don’t try to trick users with a fake “free approach” – the only thing you’ll get are some crazy clicks that have no value whatsoever because users will leave immediately.
Other words that can be catchy: limited offer, tips, secret, click to play, how to, why, new. Think in terms of benefits, not features. A feature is a technical aspect that describes the product, while a benefit can be seen as the way that feature solves a problem. Here’s an example: feature –innovative fitness equipment, benefit – lose weight easily.
[Tweet “People want to know how your product can make their lives easier.”]
6. Explicit Call-To-Action
Being involved in the process of crafting your ad, you know exactly what your prospects have to do. However, they might not find your subtle incentive so obvious. So the best bet is to write an explicit call to action.
A simple “click here [to…]” may just do the trick, but you can also experiment with some more specific approaches, like: “hire a freelancer”, “read our free report”, “join our contest”, “click to play”, “start your driving course now”
Whatever call to action you’re going to use, don’t try to fool users. The banner can create expectancy, so it’s important the users won’t feel let down after they click on it. If you are not sure whether to advertise your website as a whole or a particular product, choose the last one and relate the call-to-action to it.
Check out the 100 Great Call-To-Action Examples
It is more likely for someone to be interested in a particular product that solves a particular problem, than it is for them to be abstractly interested in your website. Again, it’s about the customer, not the company.
7. Try different approaches
Ask people who are not involved in the process of making the ads what is their opinion regarding the message. If they are from your target group, it’s even better. A fresh eye can bring something interesting.
You can also make different versions of the same ad and ask your people which one makes more sense.
You can find out other best practices in banner advertising in our Ebook.